The power of first impressions: Part 2


In Part 1 we looked at how color, furniture, and texture combine to build an atmosphere in a practice.

Thought is required to ensure that the atmosphere and the impression it creates are positive.

Let’s look at more ways the image you project can reassure and welcome your patients.

Art works

If you’re decorating with photographs and paintings, select them with care. They should be simple and not contain harsh colors. Restful decorations such as a still-life of nature can evoke a pleasant times and childhood memories.

You want an atmosphere of relaxation and dignity. Fewer pictures on the walls are better than too many. For a fresh look, occasionally rotate your pictures from one room to another.

Professionally framed and matted diplomas and certifications will reflect their value. If you’re having trouble, you might need a designer’s touch.

Although you have the full attention of your patients once they are in your treatment room, what do you want them to absorb while waiting for you? Do you want them to reflect on their fear, be distracted by ads for products, or be in an environment that is revealing, educational, and helpful in explaining a healthier life through chiropractic?

Music pros and cons

Background music can create a cheerful atmosphere. Choose relaxing music that isn’t driven by pounding rhythms. Music that is soothing to the ear can quiet worried patients.

Furniture serves a purpose

Select lightweight, durable, and easy- to-move furniture. Choose designs that promote an uncluttered look, as they make your office appear larger.

Furniture should be easy to clean.

Arrange your furniture in small conversational-type groupings, or around interesting points in the room such as a picture window, an aquarium, or a waterfall. Don’t introduce an overabundance of patterns in your furniture or floor coverings, as this can look cluttered.

Family-friendly design

Some chiropractors have large offices and cater to a relatively large percentage of children in their practice. Often they set aside a corner or small area especially for children. If you are or will be treating children, consider a colorful mural in this area, with child- sized furniture and a shelf for books, nursery rhymes, puzzles, and other inexpensive toys.

A children’s section serves dual purposes: it helps orient the child to the office and it creates a favorable atmosphere for families. If parents entrust their children to your care, your accountability as a doctor is heightened. As those children grow up and experience the benefits of healthier living though chiropractic, you will be building a generational practice.

You have two options for consulting services: a dedicated space or a treatment room. Your budget will dictate your decision.

Increasing patient flow

To streamline the process, two or more treatment rooms are recommended.

This gives you the opportunity to adjust one patient while another is getting ready.

To maximize your time, when you have completed treating one patient, the room can be vacated for the next who is waiting. You never want to wait on a patient; rather, the patient should always be ready to see you.

Situational awareness

Your ability to interact face to face with another human being who is asking for your help is the last and most important impression your patient needs to experience. Your heart is reflected in this encounter and your passion for serving others should shine through.

[Note: This is part 2 of an article on practice design. Part one can be read here.]

Gary A. Boring, DC, BCAO, LCP (Hon.), is a board member of the Sweat Foundation, practiced for 42 years at Boring Chiropractic, and is the author of Driven Towards Excellence 2014. He is also an extension faculty member at Cleveland Chiropractic College and president of the Academy of Missouri Chiropractors. He can be contacted at